Prabodhini Ekadashi - Tuesday 31st October
Brahma said to Narad, "O Narad! Prabodhini Ekadashi washes away all sins and augments one's Punyas. I shall narrate greatness and importance of this Ekadashi."
Narad asked, "O father of world! How much Punya is accumulating by fasting and eating only once on Prabodhini Ekadashi."
Brahma replied, "If a devotee consumes only fruits and light grains such as Namar, he is freed from the sins of one life and if consumes the same only after sunset, he is freed from the sins of last two lives. However, a devotee undertaking fast for a day on Prabodhini Ekadashi is freed from sins of last seven births. Furthermore, if one undertakes Jagran besides observing fast for the day on this Ekadashi, his ten thousand ancestors are redeemed. All important shrines come and take residence in the home of a family who reverently observe Prabodhini Ekadashi together. O Narad! Conversely, all Punyas of a person are destroyed if he does not observe Vrat of Prabodhini. For not observing the Vrat of both Ekadashis of month of Kartik, one destroys accumulated Punyas of all his past lives."
On hearing the words of wisdom from Brahma, Sage Narad asked again, "O Lord! Please explain to me how the Vrat of Prabodhini Ekadashi should be observed."
Brahma replied, "O Narad! A devotee should wake up in Brahm Muhurt (90 minutes before dawn) on this day and have a bath. After undertaking his regular daily Puja, he should fast for the rest of the day. He should stay awake at night singing Kirtans in front of Murti of Shree Hari. This is called Jagran. He should offer fruits, flowers, incense, leaves of Tulsi and Aarti to Bhagwan. By worshipping Bhagwan Shree Hari by offering Him scented lotus and Ketki flowers and Durva (a type of grass), a devotee earns Punya equivalent to donating one million cows. A devotees should feed Brahmins, satiate them with gifts and seek their forgiveness for any sin committed inadvertently after worshipping Bhagwan Vishnu. O Narad! I have narrated to you the significance of Prabodhini Ekadashi. A person reading, listening to or retelling this Mahatmya of Prabodhini earns never-ending Punya."
This significance of Prabodhini Ekadashi is mentioned in the Skand Puran in the form of dialogue between Brahma and Sage Narad.
The period of Chaturmaas (four months) begins on Ashadh Sud Ekadashi and ends on Kartik Sud Ekadashi. Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan has asked all His disciple to take one (of the eight mentioned in Shikshapatri) Niyam for the duration Chaturmaas. Bhagwan Vishnu goes into deep Samadhi on Ashadh Sud Ekadashi, also called Devshayani, turns on His side on Bhadarvo Sud Ekadashi (Parivartini) and awakes from Samadhi on Prabodhini Ekadashi. During this period one should be more vigilant against any sins - however minor, committed inadvertently. Though Bhagwan Shree Hari has asked His disciples to observe the Vrat of each Ekadashi, the three Ekadashis mentioned above are more auspicious and significant among them. One must endeavour not miss three Ekadashis ever. Any Niyam taken for Chaturmaas ends only after Prabodhini Ekadashi and not before. Prabodhini Ekadashi holds more significance for our Sampraday as (1) Dharmadev was born on this day at Itar (Samvat 1796), (2) Ramanand swami gave Diksha to Shree Hari on this day at Piplana (Samvat 1857), (3) Ramanand swami anointed Shree Hari as a head of Uddhav Sampraday at Jetpur (Samvat 1858) Bhagwan Shree Hari had anointed His sons as Acharyas of this Sampraday on this day at Vadtaal (Samvat 1882).